Our last day in China was spent in Shanghai.
Most of our group took the option bullet train trip where they traveled at more than 400 miles per hour. Many remarked that they could feel the speed and were surprised that the view of the outside was not a blur.
We visited a silk rug mill. The items were beautiful and expensive.
Then we spent three and a half hours at the bazaar in Shanghai, also referred to as Chinatown. It was massive. Most of the items I had seen all over China but I did manage to buy another black pearl ring and some black pearl earrings just because the saleswoman would not let me leave the store until I did. It was worth the money just to haggle and see her skills ...and to think she wasn't even using her native language. I admire her greatly and think we should get her over here to run a sales seminar for us. I managed to get my jewelry for 15 percent of the list price...not bad. She'd have you believe she lost money on the transaction and did it because she knew I would send our group back to her for their purchases -- which I did. She got at least four more sales from that.
That night we saw ERA, a Chinese acrobat show. The highlights were a man who juggled an enormous and heavy pot, four dancers who somehow came out of that pot, and a eight motorcycles in a cage, yes 8!
Our return trip from hotel to my door took 30 hours...sixteen for the flight and then our bus from JFK overheated in Chinatown -- sense the irony here -- and we had to wait for another bus to be sent for us. Luckily it broke down right in front of a pizza parlor and we didn't have to endure another Chinese meal. We laughed that our tour guides repeatdly apologized for the traffic jams in China and we kept thinking "This is nothing. It's so much worse in NYC where there are millions less people."Once we arrived in NYC's Chinatown it took a half hour to go two blocks and that's when the steam came off the engine.
All in all, everyone had an incredible time and enjoyed each other's company so much that we are planning a reunion on Chinese New Year. Haven't decided if we'll meet at a Chinese restaurant or not. We will share photos and recall our favorite things about the trip and give awards to the person who ate Chinese food first after our return, the one who ate it last, and the two women (one is me) who managed to get through the entire trip without using an Eastern toliet. If you don't know what that is, consider yourself lucky.
Some parting observations: the Chinese serve several dishes at every meal, they have little idea what Americans truly like to eat (We think they base this on what Germans eat for breakfast), it's amazing the translations aren't better considering how long we've been communicating with them, they only translate things into English and other languages are rarely represented on their signage, paper products are scarce including toliet paper, don't expect to find soap in a public washroom, their water is undrinkable, and given all of that -- I'd return in a heartbeat -- well, once I finally get over my jetlag and forget about the 16-hour flight!